Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

It can be so much fun to see a villain redeemed, especially when it’s done right. And though Sebastian St. Vincent wasn’t exactly the villain of It Happened One Autumn, he definitely had some atoning to do. It was bad enough that he was a rake of epic proportions… he kidnapped his friend’s woman, tried to force her to marry him and threatened to rape her.  So no one was more surprised than him when Lillian’s friend Evie showed up at his door, offering a marriage of convenience. [Read more…]

Review: It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

Lisa Kleypas gives us another winner with this second installment in her Wallflowers series. Here, she delivers on the promise of a relationship between Lillian and Marcus. These two were such fun enemies in the last book, you knew that fire would end up transforming into something else… and boy did it ever. These two have great passion and chemistry out of the gate, and it only gets better as they realize what they really want from each other. [Read more…]

Review: Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

It seems like people have been telling me forever that I need to try a Lisa Kleypas historical. Better late than never, I finally got around to taking their advice, and I have to say –they were right. This book was great.

Annabelle is a beautiful young lady whose family is on the brink of financial ruin. Since her father’s death, she, her mother and brother have been in a slow decline from the aristocratic lifestyle they knew. Now, their bills are past due, there is nothing left to sell and this is Annabelle’s last season. She would definitely be a good wife to any peer, but she has no dowry, and because of that, her prospects are dim. The only man who seems to really want her is Simon, a wealthy commoner who will never be accepted among the ton. [Read more…]

Shelly’s Favorites of 2016

What an amazing year for romance. I read some really good ones this year including a couple historicals.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Kleypas’s historicals and haven’t read her Ravenels series, you’re missing out. This was a new to me author and I couldn’t have been more pleased with Marrying Winterborne, book 2 in the series. Rhys and Helen’s romance was a sweet, fun and well told story about choosing what’s good for you in spite of what society says.

Each of the past few years, M.Q. Barber’s put out a story that I’ve really liked and this year was no exception. Finding their Balance is book 5 in her Neighborly Affection series and continues the story of Henry, Jay and Alice. Well worth the read in you’ve followed that series but I wouldn’t recommend as a stand alone.

I waited for Grace Draven’s book 2 in the Wraith Kings series, Eidolon, patiently. I wasn’t sure it would be worth it because I’ve been disappointed before but this one was absolutely worth the wait. Jen loved it too.

If SEALs are your thing, Embattled Road should be right up your alley. It’s the prequel to JM Madden’s Lost and Found series and it’s good short but good.

I’ve read everything put out by Christine Wenrick and when Leaving Lily Behind came out I was never so happy. It’s book 3 of the Men of Brahm Hills series continuing the saga of good versus evil, Dhampirs, vampires, humans and all things that go bump in the night. It’s tightly woven with the series just in case you’re tempted to read as a standalone.

One of my favorite writers is Allyn Lesley. She’s one of these authors who can pen a tale about an anti-hero and make you fall in love with him. Deeper, book 2 in her Descent series is no exception to that. Noah is no saint and Avi knows it.

Happy reading folks!

Honorable mention goes to:

Angel 6.0 – Concubine by Travis Luedke
A Bad Bit Nice by Josie Kerr
Happily Ever All-Star by Sosie Frost
The Devil’s Bedpost by Lena Hart
Falling by Allyn Lesley
Sucker Punched by Kelley Martin

Review: Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kelypas

marrying-winterborneReviewed by Shelly

My first Kleypas. What I was waiting for, I have no idea. This is the 2nd book in the The Ravenels series and I’m not sure how much these two had a presence in the previous story. What I do know is that this works well as a stand alone. The characters follow the storyline as it’s a family oriented saga, but their personalities are suitably represented in this installment.

Rhys Winterborne is a hero I can behind. He grew up rough, in North Wales, as the son of a working man. There’s no nobility or a gentleman’s background for him. Instead he’s a working man who made his own fortune. He owns a department store in a time when people had people to who did things for them – clothes were individually made. Mass production was not the in thing of this time. Rhys employed different people to satisfy either the needs of his customers or the needs of his employees. He’s a demanding employer, but he knew what he wanted both in business and in people. He wanted Helen. He’s always wanted Helen. [Read more…]

Joint Review: Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

again the magicReviewed by Janell and Jen

Janell: I am not well-versed in Lisa Kleypas. I read one of her books in another series recently that I found charming, so when this was on sale, and it had the word Wallflower in the subtitle, I bought it. I like the wallflower trope.

I keep checking the publication date on this, because, 2004? Really? This book has such an old-school flavor that I find it hard to believe it’s not a reissue from 1989. But I’m no book researcher so I’m going by the date on Goodreads.

Jen: I didn’t just love this book. I. LOVED. This. Book. The kind of love that makes you ignore your real life and stay up past your bedtime because you can’t put it down. It features one of my favorite tropes –a historical romance where the hero is too far below the heroine’s social status for them to be together. And it plays out to perfection. [Read more…]

Review: Crystal Cove

Reviewed by Jen

I’ll tell you a little secret. This is my first Lisa Kleypas book.  I generally don’t read contemporary romance, but the description on this felt a little PNR-ish and I have long heard positive things about this author. So I figured this was a great opportunity to give her a try.

Here’s the blurb:

ONE WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN CURSED NEVER TO FIND LOVE . . .ONE MAN WITHOUT A SOUL WHO WANTS HER MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF . . .

THEY MEET IN A SMALL ISLAND TOWN IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, WHERE MAGIC IS IN THE AIR AND FATE IS A FORCE TOO POWERFUL TO DEFY. . . .

In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas’s Crystal Cove, Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny.

What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow.

And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threaten everything she holds dear . . . because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow.

Frankly, she had me at Man-Without-A-Soul.  Unfortunately, when I actually started reading, I was sorely disappointed.  I think the description of the story is accurate, but let me tell you about some of the things it leaves out.

This is not PNR.  Maybe everyone else already familiar with Lisa Kleypas knew that.  This is a contemporary romance with paranormal elements.  That may sound nitpicky, but for lack of a better explanation, the two genres have a very different feel.  And I’m not sure who the audience is supposed to be.  Readers looking for PNR are going to unsatisfied, and I am not sure that anyone looking for a contemporary will love the magic woven in.  It’s an uncomfortable blend.

The hero is a conceited, self-absorbed ass.  He is heavy handed. He lies to Justine. He makes choices that satisfy his own needs, and she is expected to just get over it and accept it.  Then… she does… which goes on to frustrate me even more.  Yeah, he tried to make a noble sacrifice at the end, but it was still to get what he wanted, which –by then– was Justine.

There are BDSM elements in the story, which both surprised and perturbed me. I don’t like BDSM and actively avoid it.  I am a strong believer that if it’s part of a book, the blurb or cover art or SOMETHING needs to tip me off that it’s in there.   Folks on Twitter and Goodreads asked me if I was sure Kleypas was writing BDSM. I’ll tell you what I told them… he trusses her up in a hemp rope like a turkey at Thanksgiving, and went at her while she couldn’t move.  –Yes, definitely bondage, and in the other scenes, he’s still clearly dominating.  Let’s look at the cover and read the blurb again.  Did I miss something??

There was absolutely no reason to believe that these two are in love.  Jason goes from wanting Justine for her magic to being in love with her instantly.  There was no basis for it and they were proclaiming their love within just a few days.

I just couldn’t invest in the romance. I didn’t like the hero. And I didn’t enjoy the sex.  Not a winner for me.

Rating: D+

*ARC Provided by St Martin’s Griffin

Click to purchase: Amazon
Crystal Cove
by Lisa Keypas
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin